Update January 13, 2015 - Barnett's introductory crossbow is now called the Recruit. I would highly recommend the PSE Fang for the same price but much better performance.
|Scott, Stephanie and Rivers|
For a very long time, I was envious of bow-hunters. They got to hunt deer early, rarely wear hunters-orange, and usually did very well. In my teens, I had friends that hunted this way but reality was, and still is, that I simply cannot pull a bow back. Over time guns were also becoming heavy and difficult to manage. So, when I went to college, my hunting career just faded into distant memory.
The good news is the sun didn't fully set on my hunting experience after all. In recent years, I have been fortunate to acquire some friends who were avid hunters, and they reignited the bug in me. With some assistance, I have returned to the field, and it has been a blast - no pun intended.
One in particular, Kyle, is a bow-hunter and kept insisting that I should look at a crossbow as my option "A" instead of a rifle. At our local Academy Sports and Outdoors, we were shopping for fishing lures and decided to just take a look at the crossbows. The young man behind the counter saw me and immediately became excited. He told me how his father was also in a wheelchair and that he uses a crossbow and quite effectively. Ahh, the sun is shining again!
After holding one and looking through the scope I was falling in love, but the price-tag was causing my heart to have palpitations. He then told me about his father's crossbow. How it was light, deadly and inexpensive...YES!!! Barnett's RC-150 was exactly what I had been looking for.
They had just one left and it had been there a while so the price had been reduced. To say the least, I got a great deal and have been extremely pleased with the purchase. Although the box and paperwork says it shoots 18 inch bolts, we contacted Barnett directly and they explained that it absolutely can shoot the more common 20 inch bolts. This saves you from having to get the longer shafts cut down to 18 inches and makes it easier to find an arrow you might like.
So what are the advantages of a crossbow over a rifle? For starters they are very similar. Archery can be difficult because there is a certain amount of feel that goes into it. With a crossbow, you can take all of your knowledge from the land of guns and bring into the world of archery which makes the transition smooth.
Secondly, they are different - LOL! I know...I know, it sounds like I am contradicting myself but keep your cammo on, and you will understand. There is no recoil! In rifles, the lighter the gun (which makes it easier for people with disabilities to maneuver the weapon) then the more your shoulder is going to hurt because the recoil is more violent. Not so with a crossbow, there is no recoil, so you can be extremely confident in getting on the weapon and not hurting after you have shot for hours.
Also, the trigger squeeze is a bit different. If a rifle is truly field ready, a gentle amount of trigger pressure will discharge the weapon. A crossbow is designed around tension and the future release of that tension. The bow string sits firmly on the release mechanism and holds all of that potential energy. In turn, it requires more trigger pressure to release it. This however is not a downfall but rather something that simply takes some practice getting accustomed to.
The last big difference is that a crossbow can never be dry fired (no arrow). You can break the arms of a bow or crossbow by doing this. Be sure to match your arrows correctly to the bow you buy. They require a certain amount of weight called grains to fire correctly and consistently.
Ok, so lets say you buy one from Academy or order it online, are there any tidbits you need to know? You bet your sweet bippy there is. First, the arrows that come in the package are absolutely worthless. They will bend after only a few shots, so be sure to pick up some decent bolts. I happen to use Easton Bloodline bolts with a low profile fletching (the feathers at the rear of the arrow). I have shot them repeatedly with no defects. They are strong, dependable and will deliver the impact force accurately so that you humanely kill the animal being targeted.
Secondly, the sight that typically comes with the RC-150 is a red dot style. If you can pay to have someone sight it in for you, it will work. I personally like the rifle style scope with reticle lines for a good sight picture. The additional lines helps you range your weapon. Once you are actually hunting, you KNOW which line is for whatever distance that your target happens to wonder in at. It's less feel and more skill much like a rifle.
Lastly, the rail is the part of the bow that you mount your scope on. The one that comes with this crossbow is designed for the red-dot scope in the package. You can either purchase a new rail or get a rail-adapter that will enable you to mount other styles of scopes onto your bow. Remember that the majority of your shots will be less than 40 yards, which means you will not require a super-zoom scope. A 4x32 scope will do just fine and not break the bank.
As we close, in case you were curious as to how well you can shoot with this weapon. I wanted to leave you with this image so that you will know that if I can do it...so can you my friend. I can taste deer already!
|From 25 yards|
Next week we will be talking about ideas for shooting from a wheelchair and getting your weapon dialed in to make that awesome shot.
- Scott Anderson